Mental Health Awareness Week: Don’t burn out


    A study by Bupa UK has revealed that London’s working parents somehow squeeze 17.5 hours of activity into a 16-hour day. Could it be time to take a break?

    The healthcare provider has highlighted that our ‘always on’ culture also means 54% of us are experiencing health problems due to multitasking, with only 5% of the nation taking time in the day to relax. Even then – the majority of parents see this as an opportunity to go on social media, check emails and catch up on WhatsApp conversations.

    To raise awareness of the issue, some of the country’s most influential bloggers agreed to take some ‘time out’ across their social media channels and blogs for 24 hours, including mother of three Harriet Shearsmith of parenting blog Toby & Roo.

    “As a freelancer it can be almost impossible to switch off, especially when my work involves my children and family life so much,” says Harriet. “The lines become blurred and I often feel like ‘burnt out’ is only an Instagram story or two away. I wanted to get involved in Bupa’s campaign because I think it’s vitally important that we remember life is for living and not just slogging our guts out to earn the next pay cheque. My mum always used to tell me that we work to live, not live to work, and that resonates with me more and more as I see my children grow.”

    Parenting blogger Harriet is on board with Bupa's campaign to 'switch off' now and again
    Parenting blogger Harriet is on board with Bupa’s campaign to ‘switch off’ now and again

    So how does Harriet try to ensure she takes time out?

    “At 9pm I’ll set my phone to ‘night mode’ so the screen dims. I don’t switch it off but at least it takes the blue light off my screen, which is linked to sleeping problems. And unless it’s urgent, I try really hard to stay away from my desktop on a weekend – weekends are family time. I still maintain social media, but I try to keep it lighthearted and relaxed, as someone who doesn’t work in social media would.”

    Here’s how the average day for working parents pans out:

    11.5 hours working (including working on our commute to and from home)
    52 minutes checking emails
    38 minutes reading news via a smartphone or tablet
    53 minutes looking at social media or the internet
    47 minutes speaking to friends via WhatsApp or text
    33 minutes calling friends or family members
    34 minutes making plans for the weekend/week ahead
    38 minutes on personal admin/paying bills and online shopping
    46 minutes exercising
    46 minutes socialising

    Total: 17 hours, 32 minutes.

    How does yours compare? Find out more about the campaign and Bupa’s pay-as-you-go products at